Gordon Beddome is a cattle rancher who owns and operates the “Waggle Springs Ranch” in the Shilo area. The success of his operation depends upon the health of the native grasslands that grow on the beautiful sandhills that border the Assiniboine River. His goal has been to develop ways to maximize summer pasture production, while also maintaining carry over for spring grazing plus extended fall grazing. Gordon believes he has proven to himself that environmental protection and economic benefits can go hand In hand.
Gordon’s agricultural roots grow deep in this area. All four of his grandparents came from homesteads and they took up in the Minnedosa area in the 1880’s. The original homestead was passed on to Gordon from his father and he has since sold it to his daughter and son in law. A grandson assisting with the farming today would make it five generations.
Gordon recalls an early lesson in “ land and water stewardship.” As a boy growing up on a farm in the pot-hole region at Minnedosa it was common practice to ditch a slough to pick up a few more acres. This was considered improving the land.
The “Whitemud River Conservation District” was formed and their view on restricting drainage was not popular among areas farmers. The next spring there was a heavy runoff and all the Westburn area was flooded. Images on television showed hay bales being loaded on boats to feed the cattle that were marooned on the earth mounds surrounding dug-outs. It was a total shock to Gordon to realize that their actions caused so much difficultly for downstream neighbors.
The Manitoba Conservation Districts Association was later formed and in 2004 Gordon was presented with the “Conservation Farm Family of the Year” award for his work with pasture management and conserving native grasslands. In 2005 Gordon became a board member of the Assiniboine Hills Conservation District and held that position for nine years.
Gordon has also worked with Manitoba Habitat Heritage on Conservation Agreements to preserve habitat for endangered species and to restore wetlands.
The past 20 years Gordon has served as Pasture Manager on the Yellow Quill Grazing Project, a 2400 acre grassland preserve that is situated near Shilo and is owned by Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Gordon’s son, James, has served as the leader of the Green Party of Manitoba for the past 11 years. It is the confidence Gordon has gained in the party that has made him decide to run as a Green candidate in the Sprucwoods riding. He feels strongly the values that the Green Party represents in their policy and platform should be a choice given to all voters.
At retirement age Gordon finds his time is spent between ranching and other interests such as being a member of Westman Jams that support kids for music camp. Gordon and his partner Marg are regulars at Old Time dances.